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Farningham Oak furniture store owner to rebuild following barn fire in Dartford

The owner of an oak furniture store which caught fire overnight has pledged to rebuild it.

Firefighters remain at the scene of the blaze which tore through the Farningham Oak in Farningham High Street, near Dartford.

Video footage from next door neighbour's shows the furniture store ablaze.

Officers are speaking to residents and nearby business owners as investigations into the incident begin.

Emergency crews were called at 3.20am. Eight fire engines were at the scene and people living in the area were advised to keep doors and windows closed.

A cordon remains around the shop which has been severely damaged. Photos from the scene show windows blown out and part of the roof has collapsed.

Owner Peter Dzierzek lives in a terrace opposite the store and said it initially sounded like someone trying to break in.

Firefighters were called to Farningham Oak at 3.20am
Firefighters were called to Farningham Oak at 3.20am

"I looked out the window and saw a lot of flames but did not think it was our building," he said.

"I went down the street with my torch to see what it was and chucked a bucket of water at it. It's weird the things you do."

The shop is set within an 18th-century barn dating back to 1755 and specialises in the sale of modern and rustic-style solid oak furniture.

It was restored by Mr Dzierzek and wife Teresa in 1996 who moved into the premises from their corner shop, which also sold furnishings on the High Street.

They had just refurbished 'The Old Bull Store' as it is known locally and said business had been good.

The blaze at Farnimgham Oak
The blaze at Farnimgham Oak

The 65-year-old said he was "absolutely choked" but would seek to rebuild the store "as good it was".

"I've worked in these walls for more than 20 years. Everything is gone. All the stock has been ruined," he said.

"It's been a fantastic shop and business had been going really well. It's just awful. Thank God no one was hurt."

Villager Linda Cronin described being woken up by the sound of a helicopter whirling above.

"We looked out at the sky and it was bright orange," she said.

Jason Saunders, who lives two doors down from the furniture store, said firefighters knocked on his front door and asked him to come outside.

"It was a bit too close. At first I thought it was pranksters with it being fireworks night," he said.

"The I saw this flashing light. Everyone was outside in the street."

A woman in her 60s and and a man in his 70s were treated for the effects of breathing in smoke.

Firefighters put the blaze out by 7.30am. The cause is not yet known.

For more news on fires in the county, click here.

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